The Girl and the Crocodile
In a small village on the banks of a river lived a lovely young woman. While the river was not wide, it contained many dangerous crocodiles which had taken many lives in the past. There was an old bridge crossing to the other side of the river where a handsome young man lived. One day the two young people met and fell instantly in love. Every day the young man crossed the bridge and spent the entire day helping the woman’s widowed mother in their rice field. The young couple planned to marry as soon as they had saved enough money.
One night there was a huge storm and the bridge was washed away. The young man did not come the following day, nor the next. The young woman missed her boyfriend greatly but then remembered an old man who had a small boat under his house. He had smiled at her often and would surely allow her to hire his boat for the trip across the river.
But the young woman was very poor and her mother refused to help her, saying that it was a waste of hard-earnt money. So the young woman worked without food for many days and saved all the money she could by labouring for neighbours. In a weak and hungry situation, she approached the old man and offered him all her money to take her across the river in his boat. The old man refused her money and said that he would only help her if she first made love to him.
The young woman was horrified and went away angry and distressed. For many days she could not eat or sleep. What hadn’t her boyfriend tried to cross the river? He could try to get a boat couldn’t he? Didn’t he really love her? Perhaps he was sick and really needed her. She had to see him… she went to her mother again, telling her all her worries and what the old man had said. Her mother replied “I pity you my child, because I see you are suffering but, in matters of love, you must make your own decisions.” The young woman then returned to the old man and made love to him. He kept his promise and took her across the river, and did not as for money.
When she found her boyfriend he was well and drinking beer with his friends. He asked her how she had come so she told him the whole story. The young man was very angry and said he never wanted to see her again. The woman was heartbroken and tried to swim back across the river. A crocodile attacked her and she was never seen again.
What is the ethics of this story?
* Courtesy of Ms. Nuon Monichenda for sharing this story.